22 Aug, 2017

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Participants during the dissemination of the findings
The Lilongwe University of Agriculture and natural resources (LUANAR) in collaboration with Michigan State University (MSU) organized a two weeks student and trader interaction in some of Lilongwe markets with Mitundu and Wakawaka in particular.

The initiative which took place from 4th to 18th August 2017, aimed at understanding the markets systems and its impacts on people doing business in these markets.

According to Dr. Liviness Banda, Frugal Innovation Practicum (FIP) Team Leader, Mitundu and wakawaka markets were targeted because they are some of the most reliable markets in Lilongwe and they are capable of feeding a lot of people because they supply many small markets in the district.

Dr. Banda said this on 18th August at the Korean Gardens where students from the two universities (LUANAR and MSU) were presenting the student-trader interaction findings to the City Council of Lilongwe and other stakeholders who were present.

“Traders face a lot of challenges in their day to day running of business which include, lack of shelters, lack of running water, poor security, no/limited toilets, if, lack of proper storage, poor transportation, double charging and poor financial systems, just to mention a few. These problems are common in both markets and have been there for quite a long time now,” said Dr. Banda.

In his remarks, Mitundu Market Chairperson, Mr. Lester Chikumba, said despite Mitundu being an old market, it has no running water and people rely on one borehole which saves the whole market.

He said the markets’ old toilets are in a very bad state to the extent that people use nearest bushes or paying toilets from the surrounding houses.

Mr. Chikumba added that many vendors sell their products under an open sun because there are no shelters to carter for all the vendors in the market even though they pay a ticket fee to the council every day.

District Commissioner’s representative, Mr. Biziweck Mlaviwa, commended LUANAR for being able to establish the challenges existing at Mitundu and Wakawaka markets, saying his office was not aware of some of the challenges which were raised up during the presentations but assured the traders of his office’s commitment to helping solve some of the challenges.

“The DC plans to urbanize Mitundu market during this 2017/2018 financial year. We would like to transform Mitundu into a model market with well-constructed shelters, electricity and good waste disposal. Plans are underway to transfer some roles and responsibilities to the market such as running the market water taps,” he said.

Former LUANAR Acting Vice Chancellor, Emmanuel Kaunda, said LUANAR is willing to work with all stakeholders in the market system.He also mentioned that through fundraising, funds amounting to 2.5 million kwacha have been raised to take care of some of the existing problems in these markets.

He further called upon other stakeholders to take part in improving the poor conditions of the Lilongwe markets.

Written By: Mwaiwao Nkomaula